Spring 2018 Projects


The Sustainable Communities Partnership develops partnerships with cities and government entities to engage students in partner-identified, applied research and innovative problem-solving projects - during class. Our partnerships seek to catalyze systems-level change towards sustainability in the Twin Cities area while preparing students for the complexities of problem-solving in contemporary society.  Check out our Spring 2018 projects!  


City of Big Lake

Marketing Research (MKTG 340)David Harman
Spring 2018

Many residents of the City of Big Lake commute to the Twin Cities suburbs, Minneapolis, or Saint Paul for work each day. The City would like to take a more active role in facilitating the creation of ridesharing options to help residents save money, reduce wear and tear on roads, and reduce air pollution. Students will create, administer, and analyze surveys to examine the barriers and opportunities for ridesharing among commuters as well as the market for Metro Transit vanpool(s) in Big Lake.

Freshwater Society

Summer Research, Center for Applied Mathematics, Magdalena Stolarska, Associate Director
Summer 2018

The Center for Applied Mathematics supports and funds summer student research that applies mathematics to real-world problems. The Freshwater Society would like to examine the potential effects of mining in the UMore development on groundwater in Dakota County. Student researchers will investigate the question:  How will the removal of sand and gravel impact water reaching the Vermillion River, specifically stretches where trout depend on cold-water discharge from groundwater to thrive? Student researchers will create a simulation tool based on the finite difference method to model changes to groundwater temperature and the driving forces that affect its flow from the mined area to the Vermillion River. Findings will inform the Freshwater Society’s water policy efforts. 

Metropolitan Council

Environmental Studies and Geography Capstone (ENVR 401/GEOG 402), Tony Siebenaler-Ransom and Eric Wojchik
Spring 2018

The Climate Vulnerability Assessment (CVA) project identifies potential vulnerabilities of regional systems to the increased frequency and severity of climatic events. The CVA project will guide planning and policies regarding infrastructure, assets, facilities, and the built environment to help address climate vulnerability in the region. As part of the CVA, ENVR 401/GEOG 402 students will prepare an Extreme Heat Report with maps, data analysis, case studies, findings and recommended climate adaptation or mitigation strategies.

Applied Geographic Information Systems (GIS 421)David Kelley
Spring 2018

The Metropolitan Council is interested in developing metro-wide tree planting prioritization based on existing data on land surface temperature, TCMA data, and other demographic layers. Using GIS, students in GEOG 421 will analyze existing data and create a map for metro-wide tree planting prioritization following methodology developed by Hennepin County.

Writing for Strategic Communication (COJO 344), Chuck Grothaus
Spring 2018

College students are often unaware of the wide range of employment and career opportunities available to them when they graduate. This is also true with government agencies like the Metropolitan Council. The Metropolitan Council would like students to help develop a strategic communications plan to promote the Council as an employer for recent college graduates. COJO 344 students will develop a strategic communications plan in collaboration with the Metropolitan Council to promote the Council as a prospective employer. Messaging will emphasize the range of multi-disciplinary job opportunities as well as the mission-driven nature of the Council.

Metro Transit 

Applied Business Research (MBA Client Consulting Program), Avinash Malshe
Spring 2018

Metro Transit offers a “college pass” transit pass to college students for a reduced rate. MBA students will conduct market research to understand market segments within the college student demographic and recommend fare product options that better meet the needs of different types of students.

Psychology of Sustainability (PSYC 334)Britain Scott
Spring 2018

Litter at transit stops adversely affects environmental quality and contributes to negative perceptions of transit stops and transit riding. Metro Transit would like transit stops to be a comfortable waiting space for transit riders. Students will develop a behavior change campaign for selected transit stops in the Twin Cities to deter littering and promote comfortable waiting spaces.

Business Spanish (SPAN 320)Susana Perez Castillejo
Spring 2018

Metro Transit would like to improve response rates to their customer satisfaction surveys among native Spanish speakers to improve service and amenities for this community. Students will conduct interviews in Spanish with native Spanish speakers to both gather information about where and how to distribute customer satisfaction surveys, as well as to gain feedback about the customer satisfaction survey itself. Students will analyze these findings and provide a report to Metro Transit to inform improvements of their customer satisfaction survey for native Spanish speakers.

Service Operations Management (OPMT 360)Sheneeta White in collaboration with Systems Analysis and Design II (CISC 321)Tim Meyer
Spring 2018

Metro Transit seeks to develop a tracking system for its non-revenue fleet vehicles. Metro Transit is interested in standard operating procedures for both paper-based and technological options that meets the standards for record management and minimizes resources needed for implementation. Students in OPMT 360 will develop recommended standard operating procedures to achieve these goals and students in CISC 321 will develop an associated technological solution. 

DATACOM 2018, Department of Economics, Monica Hartmann, Chair
Spring 2018

The Department of Economics sponsors an annual data analysis competition (DataCom).  The challenge to student researchers:  Think you know data? Prove it. This year’s data are provided by Metro Transit, which operates the primary public transit system of bus and rail lines in the Twin Cities. Teams of economics students propose research questions, manage and analyze real-world data, and communicate findings to a panel of judges—including Metro Transit data scientists.  Data include: Two years (~73 million observations) of automatic passenger counts by route, stop, and time-of-day; ten years (~350,000 observations) of daily ridership by route; and geographic identifiers and site descriptions for Metro Transit stops.

PLACE

Managerial Decision Making (ECON 401)Monica Hartmann
Spring 2018

PLACE’s EcoVillage development in St. Louis Park, MN includes multiple components:  affordable and market-rate housing, an e-generation facility, live/work spaces, an urban forest, and a boutique hotel. Lenders often perceive multiple elements in a development as increasing risk, rather than distributing or managing risk. Students will analyze the multiple elements of the EcoVillage and provide recommendations to PLACE to better communicate to lenders the economic benefits and costs of their development proposal.

Systems Analysis and Design II (CISC 321)Tim Meyer
Spring 2018

PLACE would like to encourage residents to engage in sustainable behaviors and to create community at the same time. Using a user-centered design approach, CISC 321 students will design a prototype EcoVillage ‘Energy Champion’ app to encourage energy conservation and create community through friendly competition.

Environmental Problem Solving (ESCI 310)Chip Small
Spring 2018

PLACE would like to analyze of how well current operations and future design ideas meet their sustainability goals. Students will model several different sustainability objectives through coupled economic/energetic/mass balance models to analyze how goals are currently being met and recommendations to better meet goals.

University of St. Thomas Facilities

Applied Business Research (MBA Client Consulting Program)Avinash Malshe
Spring 2018

A team of MBA students will act as consultants for St. Thomas Facilities to examine the question – what makes a campus conducive to biking and what does this look like for the St. Paul campus? Students will conduct interviews, surveys, and focus groups to examine the barriers and benefits of biking to campus for members of the St. Thomas community and develop recommendations to remove barriers and leverage benefits to encourage biking throughout the year. Students will share their findings with Facilities and provide recommendations for a Bicycle Master Plan through a presentation and research report.  

Course details coming in March, in collaboration with the St. Thomas Child Development Center
Spring 2018

One component of the Bike Master Plan is the design and placement of bike racks, including during winter months. Students will design bike racks for campus, based on criteria provided by Facilities and background research on bike racks and available technology. Preschoolers at the University of St. Thomas Child Development Center will collaborate on the project to design kid-sized bike racks. 

Marketing Research (MKTG 340)David Harman
Spring 2018

Students will collaborate with Facilities to design and conduct focus group or survey research with target groups within the St. Thomas community to support the development of a Bicycle Master Plan. Student-designed survey and focus group research will examine possibilities for infrastructure and programming to encourage members of the St. Thomas community to bike to campus year-round.


University of St. Thomas Campus Sustainability

Critical Thinking: Lit/Writing (ENGL 121), Alison Underthun-Meilahn
Spring 2018

Students will apply critical thinking skills through research, interviews and writing to highlight sustainability initiatives past and present at the University of St. Thomas. Students will create posters of these initiatives, which will be on display in the library rotunda in celebration of Earth Day to promote more community awareness of sustainability efforts at St. Thomas.

Summer 2018 Courses

Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ENGL 315 - D01 Visual Rhetoric & Design See Details * *

Days of Week:

See Details

Time of Day:

*

Location:

*

Course Registration Number:

30436 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

4

Instructor:

Fernando Sanchez

This course introduces students to how to use visual texts and techniques to communicate in professional settings. As visual forms of communication become more prominent in communication between organizations and communities, it is important to develop an awareness for how images and artifacts are designed. We will discuss the theory behind visual rhetoric and apply it to real-world case studies throughout this second summer session class. By the end of the course, students will know how to do the following: 1) Use visuals to think critically. By thinking visually, we can understand problems and crystalize our ideas; 2) Analyze and interpret visual artifacts. All visuals are rhetorically constructed. Just like we need to read a text closely, we must also rhetorically analyze advertisements, art, memes, etc.; and 3) Create visual materials to help address a local community problem. This course will include a Sustainable Communities Partnership service-learning component. This course satisfies a requirement for English with a Professional Writing majors, English minors, and counts as an allied requirement for select business majors. It also satisfies the Writing Across the Curriculum Writing in the Discipline requirement. Please note that it does not count towards the core literature and writing requirement. Prerequisite: ENGl 201, 202, 203, 204, or 206.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
OEC 3051730-1930- T - R - - -
-- - - - - - -
TEGR 528 - 01 Engineering in P-12 Clrm M T W R F - - 0800 - 1630 FDC 317

Days of Week:

M T W R F - -

Time of Day:

0800 - 1630

Location:

FDC 317

Course Registration Number:

30336 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

Instructor:

Deborah M. Besser, Debra S. Monson

This course will focus on an overview of current P-12 engineering education programs; exploration of pedagogy and content; links to national and State Academic Standards; and a survey of assessment mechanisms that evaluate impact of classroom initiatives. A variety of delivery modes will be used to introduce students to methods and to educators who have successfully introduced engineering into a wide variety of classes across several disciplines. Engineering resources for course participants will be presented and discussed. A final project is required, in which practicing educators and education students create a unit or module focused on a hands-on engineering activity for P-12 educators in their licensure area.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)